know how to write this story. I don't know even if we'll be alive tomorrow. And
if we live long enough for you to read this, then it's probably all bull. But
this is what the Professor told me. And he is a super star. They say he's the
next Einstein. So I'll just tell it as it comes, what the hell.
bumped into Professor Norardny in a bar on Queen's Street this evening. A bit
of a dive. Him in a back corner. Still wearing his hat, pulled down over his eyes.
I'd have hardly noticed him if he hadn't cut such a sad figure, hardly recognized
him if I hadn't seen him so often over the last few years. I've got the small
office across from his suite of rooms in the Physic Building. "Professor,"
He slowly put down his glass,
wanly looked up. "Professor yourself," he said.
"Oh, just the end
of the world," says he.
best tell you about Norardny, though there are few who don't know something about
him by now. He published his Noetic theory last year, on-line. Turned mind and
consciousness into mathematics, and then a month later his meta-noetics turned
matter into a sort of mind stuff, just like the mystics always said, and it and
just happened to reconcile relativity and quantum. A theory of everything, and
no ones been able to tear it down. Then there's the icing. For starters it seems
about to solve all our energy problems with cheep, save, clean cold fusion.
"So why aren't you on top of the world,
after you've explained the world, and it's at your feet?"
my friend, it's all going to end."
I guess we knew that even before your noetics. All things are impermanent, the
Norardny now fiddled
with the straw that came with his drink, looking away from me, looking down, mumbling.
"The effing Caliphate and the Chinese. They'll probably have at each other
before this night over. Tonight, mate. Tonight. How's that for doomsdays prophesy.
You'll know if I'm crazy, if not tonight, then by the end of the week."
"I'm lost," I said. "Start
at the beginning."
travel," he said. "It's time travel, so we're all going to be dead."
"There's no time travel."
he said, while I stared at him blankly. "Look," he said, "my theory
allows for time to move both ways, and just as simply as it gave us cold fusion,
it's a simple matter to push things either way through time and space."
"But for the paradoxes," I said.
"Oh, you'd get used to the paradoxes.
Where do you think my noetics came from? When I had my theory halfway there, why
there it was. I'd sent the answers back to me."
sorry. You'll have to explain."
What I'm saying is that about the time I had half the picture, voila, there on
my desk, a folder, scrawled large on the cover, in my hand, it said, "Here
it is. Arthur Norardny. You're welcome." It was dated almost two years in
the future. In fact, I just typed it out and sent it to myself a month back. You
see, once you understand the noetics, time travel is a snap in theory, and not
that hard in practice. Took a while to sort out the scaling, cause we're moving
all the time, so you've got to get the knack of latching on to context: context
glues you. It wasn't that difficult after all and I've been sending articles,
things, to me for a year. I've been receiving things from the future for two years.
You get used to it. Its a few months now I've been sending animals. Actually,
one of the worrying things is that at the moment I don't actually have anything
form the future."
He paused. Stared
at his drink. I let a moment pass and then said clumsily, "You're kidding
"No," he half laughed.
"Actually, it was a bit of a joke. First animals I sent were earthworms.
"Calvin and Hobbes. Never mind. Anyway,
I've sent mice. I've sent the cat. I had two copies of The Pookey for a year,
and they weren't clones. Himself it was, and he didn't much like himself. I had
to keep him apart."
"Not a by of it,'
said he. "Once you get used to, it's just the new norm. And that's the rub."
problem. See, I've built the machine. The man size machine. The "Time Machine".
And I've sent the cat back again with it. Yeah, for week I had three Pookeys.
And I'm ready to go myself, tomorrow even, or the next day. And you see, the problem
is, once there's time travel, there will always have been time travel."
"Well, yes, I guess. But there isn't."
"Just so. In any civilization where they
develop time travel, it will always have been. They will live with time travel
logic. Quite a different sort of place, causally. And I've built the machine.
I've distributed the blue prints far and wide, just recently, once I was sure
it was for real. There's only one thing that could stop it. And it obviously has."
"I don't follow," I said.
civilization that would have developed far enough to have time travel will always
have had time travel. And we obviously don't, so we won't. We won't develop that
far. This civilization is going to come to an end. It's going to collapse, perish,
be destroyed before time travel starts. Tomorrow!"
do you think is going to lob the first nuke," he continued. "The Chinese
or the Caliphate?
"Oh my God,"
I said. "You can't believe that."
you'll see," he said, rising and stumbling towards the door.
here I am typing at my key-board in the middle of the night. It's daylight over
there where the Caliphate and the Chinese are squabbling over India. And, oh my
God, now I think I can hear the sirens starting to scream